Skip to Content

Do I Qualify to Be the Personal Representative for a Loved One’s Estate?


Possibly, whether you are eligible to assume the role of personal representative will depend on the specifics of your situation.

To start explaining this more thoroughly, it’s first important to understand the requirements set by California laws for personal representatives, with these specifically stipulating that personal representatives must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Not be the subject of a conservatorship.
  • Be capable of carrying out the duties required of a personal representative (e.g., administering the will, opening and resolving the probate case, etc.).

If you have not been specifically named as the personal representative in the will, then the additional requirements that have to be in order for you to become a personal representative include that:

  • The court must appoint you as the personal representative.
  • You must reside in the U.S.

Personal Representatives in California: More Important Info

  • Checking qualifications with capabilities – After the passing of a loved one when considerations of personal representatives arise, knowing who is qualified to accept the role is just one factor to pay attention to; the other is whether the prospective personal representatives are actually willing and able to fulfill the duties of the role. In fact, because probate can take months (or longer) to resolve, evaluating availability and one’s capacity to take on these responsibilities for a longer term is crucial.
  • Priority for an appointment – When no will has been left behind and the court is left to appoint a personal representative, there will be a priority for these appointments, with the preference generally being as follows:
  • The surviving spouse (unless a divorce petition has been filed and the partners were living apart; in these cases, the surviving spouse will have priority after the decedent’s siblings)
  • The children
  • The grandchildren
  • The parents
  • The siblings
  • The fiduciary responsibilities – Another important factor to consider with the role of personal representative is the fact that this role comes with some legal strings; so, if the personal representative fails to fulfill his role, advances his own interests, or makes mistakes in administering the estate, (s)he can be sued for breach of fiduciary duty.

Contact a Santa Clarita Estate & Probate Attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman

For exceptional representation in California probate, contact a trusted Santa Clarita estate & probate attorney at the Law Offices of Darrell C. Harriman. Since 1980, our respected legal professionals have been dedicated to providing people with personalized, highly responsive service, as well as superior representation for their important legal matters.

To find out more about how we can help you with your estate planning and/or probate needs, contact our firm by calling (818) 892-7093 or by filling out the contact form on this page.

From our offices based in North Hills, we provide the highest quality legal services to our clients throughout the San Fernando Valley, Simi Valley, Santa Clarita, and the greater Los Angeles area.

Share To:

Get Started

Schedule A Virtual Consultation

Contact Darrell C. Harriman today by filling out the form below or call (818) 892-7093.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.
  • By submitting, you agree to be contacted about your request & other information using automated technology. Message frequency varies. Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Acceptable Use Policy
  • Practicing Since 1980

    I have over four decades of helping my clients through the legal process.

  • Personalized, Responsive Service

    I'll craft a personalized strategy that fits the specific needs of your case.

  • Clear Answers In Plain Language

    Simplifying complex legal issues enables you to make informed decisions.

  • Proactive Representation

    As a seasoned attorney, I work to anticipate any issues you may face in your case.